Saturday, October 05, 2002
Gary Price directed me to a review of "Reader's Advisory" sites, if you've exhausted amazon's recommended reading
Looks like these are useful sites, though the idea of finding books related to an author or book seems more like what amazon does than these sites, which focus on genres and so forth. But there's lots of good links to lists of award winners, etc.
BookBrowser has a nice page of series listed in chronological order, even if that's not the order in which they were published, which is handy.
Bookspot has many useful-looking links on their home page, though I found several dead or old links clicking at random.
Good links for booksearching anyway.
11:49 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Friday, October 04, 2002
Another take on Dr Phil, this time through his best-selling book, Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out
What intrigues me about Dr. Phil is that if you listen to him long enough, you realize that he's propagating nothing less than the tenets of existentialism, a philosophy that cartoonists love to portray as the domain of grim-faced beatniks smoking cigarettes in bistros with rain clouds hovering over their berets.
You won't see the big names and the big words, but the sentiments are all there. Living in this world with assigned roles (he writes) rather than an authentic self drains you of the critical life energy you need for the constructive pursuit of things you truly value. By contrast, once you start living your life with an authentic sense of self, then all of that diverted, otherwise wasted life energy starts speeding you down the highway of your life.
9:42 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
The latest sign of the media-mainstreaming of reading as a leisure activity (like Oprah's Book Club) is Bookmarks Magazine, which sounds like a blessing for people who don't want to wade through NYTBR etc.
Think of it as the Consumer Reports of reading. Bookmarks, aimed at those "who don't spend they're entire weekends studying review after review," collates reviews of major releases and processes them into a ratings system. Most books receive about a half page of discussion, including a plot synopsis, excerpts from major reviews and a short summary of the rest. Each book then receives a one-to-five star rating. Reductionist, sure, but just because people have more time on their hands doesn't mean they're not still used to easily digestible info-nuggets. Like with most choices I make, my intuition is my guide to what I read most of the time. But this seems a good choice for people who need a quick overview because they don't read that much.
Lots of people like reading, but literati snobbery turns many away from what should be a fun, stress-free activity.
Clay Risen makes an interesting point that "magazines are increasingly becoming things to be used rather than read."
I need to find a way to get paid for managing people's information diet. . .
9:33 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
MTV buys the rights to Shawn Fanning's life story
He's, what, 23 now? So I guess we can look for this round about 2050, right?
10:44 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
A new survey by The Economist of the best cities to live in
The EIU's study gave each city [out of 130] a 'hardship rating' based on a number of factors including health and safety, culture and environment, and infrastructure. Best: tie between Melbourne and Vancouver
Worst: Port Moresby, New Guinea
Highest US city: Honolulu (21); Boston (mainland, 28)
Australia has 5 in the top ten. Europe is also well-represented (7 in top ten). Canada has 3.
Wonder where Auckland is?
9:11 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
The daughter of 2 English PhDs bathes with trash
...So, ignore what your parents told you: judge a book by its cover. Buy it. Read it. Because, all in all, pulp has taught me some pretty valuable lessons:
1. Bad boys get all the breaks; bad girls get what's coming to them.
2. A career is fine for a woman, as long as she gets to meet some nice men.
3. You can't solve all the world's problems, so why not have a martini?
4. Life is cruel, the streets are hard and your past will always catch up with you.
5. When all else fails... seduce someone.
12:21 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
"Brain brain brain. What is brain?"
A college student with an IQ of 126 has been catscanned and found to have almost no brain at all (he's hydrocephalic)
The condition is usually fatal in the first months of childhood. When a patient survives, he's almost always seriously retarded. But somehow this student lived a normal life and even graduated from college with honors in math. No smart comments about the US educational system. . .
But if the brain isn't the place where experiences are stored and analyzed, then what's the brain used for? And if our human intelligence doesn't exist in our brains, where is it? Dr. Rupert Sheldrake is one scientist who rejects the idea that the brain is a warehouse for memories. He thinks it may be more like a radio receiver that can tune into the past like an internal time machine.
12:06 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
Powell's sends me reviews of (mostly new) books every weekday. Here are some reviews I liked of books I'll probably read.
11:52 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Heather Havrilesky on Dr Phil and his new solo shot
Dr. Phil may well be the Chauncey Gardiner of the self-improvement circuit. He gets by on his courage of conviction and a distinctly American charm. His mantras have a simple, macho feel to them, combining down-to-earth small talk between good old boys with the tough talk of football coaches and the jocular slang of beer commercials. To a country swimming in distinctly feminine, New Age flavors of self-help, Dr. Phil's red-blooded American male delivery has pulled self-improvement out of the closet. "You either get it or you don't," he tells us, sounding like a hardened old bartender who's seen it all.
1:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Russian Buddhist's body said to be without decay 75 years after death
12:34 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Tuesday, October 01, 2002
The CODeDOC Exhibit of software art at the Whitney [Schism Matrix]
Have to look through this, looks interesting. The Camille Utterback piece crashed my PC when I tried to escape it, though (WIN98SE).
12:54 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Monday, September 30, 2002
Some tech projects of note
The Hybrid Nanorod-Polymer Solar Cell, The DriveBy InfoFueling Car and The Handheld DNA Detector, etc.
Managing chip behavior and the Gibsonian nightmare of chip manufacturing
Today's smallest transistors are only 0.1 microns across (about 0.000004 inches), compared with the 0.8- micron transistors on the first Pentium. As transistors become smaller and wires shorter, new behaviors set in. Transistors and wires are already starting to act in ways that classic electronics theory didn't predict. Individual electrons go renegade and tunnel into places they don't belong.
In today's chips that channel a trillion electrons at once, these anomalies are benign. But when tomorrow's chips massage a few hundred electrons here and there, a few loose ones can upset everything. Probability and quantum mechanics will play bigger roles. Future chips will be mostly air, with delicate bridges of silicon and copper spanning chasms of empty space. Sapphire, diamond, and SON (silicon on nothing) buttress the structures as fabricators strive to preserve classical electronics for a few more years. Beyond that, optical or quantum computing may hold sway.
11:18 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Free scratching software for digital DJs
It's gotten good reviews, haven't tried it myself.
10:32 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sunday, September 29, 2002
Fun Eno story from the early days
Parishioner Ed Ward from the United States: "It was...ooooh, some time in the '70s. Shall we say around the time of 'Taking Tiger Mountain'? That sounds good. I was the West Coast correspondent for Creem, and thus got offered many interesting opportunities to converse with the highest quality rock stars of the day. So when Island Records asked me if I'd like to talk to Brian Eno, I of course said yes.
Best of all, I didn't have to go anywhere, which was good because in those days I didn't drive and there was precious little public transportation in Marin County. He was coming to me, after doing some sort of radio interview or something. So I sat and waited for him to show.
And waited. And waited. No word from the handlers, no nothing.
About three hours late, a car pulled up and two guys got out, followed by a third. I wasn't too upset about the delay, because it gave me all kinds of time to come up with fascinating questions for a guy who was reputed to be quite intelligent and know all kinds of things about odd areas of music which fascinated me and very few of my fellow rock scribes. Plus I had to call Creem to tell them this was happening, and no one was home.
But finally the great man was at my door, and the two promo guys ushered him in. I offered him the best seat in the house, my dog ambled up, sniffed, and definitely approved, and then one of the promo guys spoke.
"Brian's got laringytis."
So how am I supposed to do an interview?
"You aren't. He can't talk."
So why don't you take him back to his hotel so he can recuperate.
"Well, we were supposed to bring him here, so we did."
I was at a complete loss now, but I noticed Eno was eating some leaves.
"What are those?" I asked, although I did recognize them.
"Nasturtium leaves," he whispered. "Good in salads."
And with that, he and the two guys got back in their car and left. I walked them to the gate, and noticed where Eno had gotten the nasturtium leaves: from the ones growing by the entrance to the house, of course.
He was gone before I had the chance to tell him what was the first target my dog hit when we went for our twice-a-day walks. But (other) nasturtium leaves do taste good in salads, folks!" [via perfectsound on NerveNet list/Rocking Vicars list]
5:14 PM - [Link] - Comments ()